tv Melissa Harris- Perry MSNBC August 9, 2014 7:00am-9:01am PDT
this this morning, my question -- did the jury reach the right conclusion? we'll take paul ryan serious ly. the ebola outbreak is an international health emergency. first, the u.s. returns to iraq. good morning, i'm melissa harris perfect ary and we have breaking news this morning. the president is expected to it address the media to talk more about the situation in iraq, and we're going to bring you his statement live when it happens. the we expect to hear from the president just a little later this hour. the united states military conducted a second is round of humanitarian aid friday dropping 72 bundles of supplies for iraqis being threatened by hard line militants according to the
pentagon. this relief comes after the u.s. military carried out air strikes against isis targets yesterday in northern iraq. this is a situation in that country that deteriorates. before the first strike friday morning president obama acressed the american people thursday night. >> when we face a situation like we do on that mountain with innocent people facing the prospect of violence on a horrific scale, when we have a mandate to help,this case a request from the iraqi government, and when had we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then i believe the united states of america cannot turn a blind eye. >> now the innocent is people president obama is referring to are the yazidis, often persecuted. and they mum between 400,000 to 500,000 alone and govern a portion in the northeast. nearly 40,000 yazidis are stranded on mt. sinjar and they
are dying of hunger and thirst. the yazidis had to flee because they've been persecuted by isis and threatened with execution if they refuse to convert to islam. isis has swept across a wide swath of both iraq and syria as the terror group tries to establish an islamic califate and poursed conversions, destruction of religious shrines and killing many people. in addition, hundreds of yazidi women have been kidnapped so they can be sold into slavery. yesterday three air strikes against isis targets destroyed artillery, hit a mortar position, and an isis convoy where the u.s. does have a consulate. the white house reiterated friday that a prolonged u.s. military intervention is not the administration's end goal. >> this is a situation that is a very difficult challenge, but it's not a challenge that can be
solved by the american military. there is support that can be provided by the american military. but this is a situation that will only be solved by the iraqi people and a government that reflects the views of iraq's diverse population. >> last night vice president biden called iraqi president to discuss you the military operations in iraq as well as continued government formation process in baghdad and this morning president obama used his weekly address to ensure against the possibility of the mission. >> i will not allow the united states to be dragged into fighting another war in iraq. american combat troops will not be returning to piety in iraq because there's no american military solution to the larger crisis there. >> i want to bring in nbc news white house correspondent chr kristen welker. kristen, can you help tell us about how and why the president made the decision to go ahead with the air strikes? >> reporter: well, melissa, we're learning more about that and more about the ticktock of
his decision making process as well. according to a senior administration official president obama wrapped up his news conference at the africa summit this wednesday. that historic sum hit. and it was after that that the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey, told president obama that the crisis in iraq had reached a breaking point. he told president obama that isis, those militant forces, were moving toward erbil and that is where the consulate sits. he described the humanitarian crisis you just mapped out, melissa. the fact that as many as 40,000 of those christian minorities were trapped on top of that mountain without access to pood, without access to water, and that they were start iing to di including several children. so there was broad it -- there was a broad sense here behind the scenes that something needed to be done. i'm told president obama met with his senior staff here at the white house on wednesday and then again thursday morning in the situation room. he met with his national security team, and they all
agreed that some type of action needed to be taken for two reasons, one because u.s. interests were at risk there. it's also a kurd ib stronghold, by the way, so there was a real concern about that falling to the militant forces and then because this is a humanitarian crisis, you heard president obama use the terrell genocide, that part of the reason he wanted to take the limited air strikes was to prevent a potential genocide. i can tell you there were some concerns raised in those meetings, concerns about the f-18 fighters jets who were dropping those bombs, those 500-pound bombs. those jets have to fly relatively low. they fly fast. there was concern about protecting the u.s. personnel who will be carrying out the air strikes. ultimately it was determined by the president that the benefits outweighed the risks and that something needed to be done to prevent this ongoing atrocity that is unfolding there. so that is why he decide d to move forward with those limited air strikes. with but you are right to point out that the president's policy
right now is to make sure that they stay limited and that he is not putting boots on the ground. senior administration officials calling on the iraqi government to create an inclusive government, something that hasn't happened yet. melissa, this is really about buying some time to allow that to happen and also to allow the u.s. to provide more arms to the kurdish fighters who were trying to beat back those militant forces. melissa? >> nbc news' kristen welker at the white house, thank you. we'll come back when we hear the president speak a little bit later this morning. right now i want to bring in chief pentagon correspondent, jim jim miklaszewski. we just heard from kristen also continued interest here in making sure this is a very limited operation but is there there any indication from the pentagon as to whether or not there are going to be more air strikes at this point? >> reporter: well, melissa, they clearly indicate there will be more air strikes. after three strikes on those targets will outside of erbil
that you mentioned a moment ago, it seems that the isis militants sort of got the message and they've put their efforts to advance on erbil to launch attacks against those kurd is forces on hold. everything seems to be very quiet outside erbil as of today. according to military officials, there is no movement by militant forces to either come close or advance further on erbil or 0 launch any kind of attacks as we saw yesterday when there were some random artillery attacks in the direction of forces. a short time ago we were told there have been mo combat air strikes by u.s. aircraft on any of those mill tabt targets outside erbil as of today, melissa. >> at this time, jim, is will any reason for us to expect that this is sort of the end of this
mission or do we just have to wait for what the president will tell you in a bit? >> reporter: it's mott tnot thef the mission because there's a pause in the fighting. these isis militants have proven to be very well trained, operations very precise and disciplined, which has surprised a lot of military analysts in the pentagon. they're thinking this through. after taking a slight beating yesterday. it seems they're regathering to figure out what their next move is. nobody thinks this is over by any stretch of the imagination. >> nbc news' jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, thank you. >> all right, melissa. joining me in stewudio now e michael hannah, senior fellow at the century foundation, formerly serve d as a consultant for humn rights watch in baghdad in 2008. and earl catagnus jr., an iraq
war veteran, and at valley forge military college. thank you both for being here. let me start with you, earl, based on two things i heard from our correspondents there. one from kristen welker talking about the possibility that we could be dragged into larger 0 operations if something were to happen to one of the planes that is there doing the air strikes and on the other hand jill sm sg air strikes seem to have momentarily met their goal and caused a halt in the advance of isis. how do you look at that strategically? what do you it think is going on in this moment? >> one, we wouldn't be dragged into an expansion of the con mrikt because of a downed aircraft. in fact, there are missions, marine expeditionary units are trained in it. they're almost pre-positioned in the gulf to do that as well as
they have about a 200 marine security force fleet company based in baghdad as well as you have forwardly deployed the special operation forces operating within. so we're never ever going to forwardly deploy or put aircraft in danger without the ability to recover those personnel. and so we're not going to be dragged in because of that. we will have the capability to do that. now how effective it is, if we take more casualties that may depend on the situation on the ground. i think that the president here has set clear guide lines for not engaging as opposed to engaging, and i think that the -- it's interesting the language he used. he said to protect american personnel and facilities, which sounds surprisingly fal to the early 20th secentury when we engaged to protect american
lives and property. so it leaves an opening to expand the engagement. we're not the going to see an increase in ground combat troops, and there's no reason for it because they have -- the iraqi military is there. we will be -- we're putting in place adviser teams, we're exploring intelligence while trying to put intelligence assets in place and then, i think, more air strikes will be in there. >> so the president was saying on the one hand the question of american personnel and interests in the narrowest sense. the other piece of what the president said was, in this case, the g-word and attempting to halt a potential genocide to the extent we have the military to do so. is that an appropriate way to put what is going on with the kurds? >> i think it is certainly a potential. the potential was there. isis has proven its intent previously. the yazidis were cornered and
there was every reason to fear mass atrocity. i think we have it to think this was a unique circumstance in which this situation converged with the strategic concerns and in which we saw limited air strikes could have is a real impact in terms of blunting the expansion and also serving its important purpose in terms of protecting what was a defenseless community. and very unique. there are 400,000, 500,000 yazidis in iraq, a small community. so of them concentrate ed d in geographic area. we've seen the ways in which isis previously has systematically targeted minority communities, christians in iraq previously. and so it's not flippant to toss around the word jgenocide. it was a real concern and was part of why we've seen the
president engage in this way. >> stick with us. we're going to dig into it this a bit more. stay with me. we have metropolitan more uch m in iraq and the fighting in gaza as well. we'll bring president obama's live remarks to you as soon as they begin. more fruit in the filling, ya? mmm! ya! warm, flaky, gooey, toaster strudel! now, with more fruit! i make a lot of purchases foand i get ass. lot in return with ink plus from chase. like 50,000 bonus points when i spent $5,000 in the first 3 months after i opened my account. and i earn 5 times the rewards on internet, phone services and at office supply stores. with ink plus i can choose how to redeem my points. travel, gift cards, even cash back. and my rewards points won't expire. so you can make owning a business even more rewarding. ink from chase. so you can.
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in gaza talks if egypt have chapsed. as the three-day ceasefire between israel and hamas ended at 8:00 a.m., militants in gaza began firing rockets into israel and israel spontd responded with air strikes. israeli defense forces have struck 30 targets in the gaza strip while 11 rockets fired from within gaza have landed in open area in southern israel. this renewed round of violence since the latest ceasefire ended
has left at least ten palestinians dead including a 10-year-old boy and more than 60 wound ed ed in gaza. two israelis have been injured from shrapnel. one palestinian was killed near ramallah and about 40 injured in clashes that owe ckurd in the w bank. we will keep an eye on this developing story. right now back to the crisis in iraq where the u.s. has launched air strikes targeting isis militants hoping to stop their advance across the country. we are awaiting live remarks from president obama on the situation in iraq. back with me are michael hannah with the secentury foundation, d earl catagnus jr., an iraq war veteran who is also an assistant professor at history and security studies at valley forge military college. also at this moment i want to bring in an iraq representative for unicef, an organization focused on the rights of children affected by violence around the world.
she will join us via skype. good morning. >> good morning. >> i want to play for you what president obama said on thursday about the individuals, the yazidis who are in the mountains. the let me play this for you. >> at the request of the iraqi government we've begun operations to help save iraqi civilians stranded on the mountain. as isil has marched across iraq, these terrorists have been barbaric towards religious minorities. >> how effective are these air strikes likely to be in helping to stop this kind of persecution and potential genocide? >> thank you. i am not in a position to comment really on the air strikes because i work for a humanitarian organization. i can tell you about the humanitarian situation, of those people, including the many
children who are stranded on the mountains. their situation is really dire. they need water. they need food. they need shelter and they need protection. they need to get to safety right now and time is of essence here, and we're running out of time. >> are the humanitarian aid air drops, also part of this military operation, likely to have that effect of providing some protection and shelter for these individuals? >> the united nations and unicef included has not been part of these air drops. the humanitarian supplies delivery is very, very important to reach these people. they're very much in need for these supplies and reaching them with all the supplies is quite important. what's equally important is trying to find an opportunity and a way to get the stranded people including 20,000 children out of these mountains into safety. >> and when you say into safety,
is there any possibility at this point of them being able it to return to their own homes, or is this a refugee crisis likely to cross a border? >> well, it's a good question. our information says that the islamic state formerly known as isis has taken over the origin of the standard of population called sinjar. it's in the northwest and has been taken over. i do hope and wish these stranded populations including many children would return home, but right now this seems highly unlikely. what we need to have -- any place that is safe and that is not really where they are stranded in the mountains. >> unicef's juliette ouma in iraq. we need to take a break here. we are expecting remarks from president obama on the situation in iraq any moment now. stay with us. we'll bring those to you live. important legal matters
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welcome back. we are awaiting president obama, expected to speak from any moment at the south launch the white house about the u.s. air campaign in iraq. i do have a few more questions for us here to try to get my head around what's happening. so, earl, part of what i keep hearing commentators say we are at least somewhat surprised as a state of a little bit back on one foot just how organized, how disciplined, and how well armed isis is? why are we surprised to find that out? i'm surprised our intelligence didn't tell us just how well armed and prepared isis is. >> i think it might be a little bit overstating. i don't think we were completely taken aback. we have been watching isis develop in syria and knew they were getting an influx of
weapons from the syrian army, also when they captured mosul they secured many of the weapons we had procured for them, for the iraqis. >> some of the weapons isis is fighting with are weapons that were u.s.-provided for the iraqis? >> the soviet bloc weapons. >> we didn't give them? >> no, they were captured weapons. as far as the training, i think we have to look at it not from a western prospective but this is that they're much more sophisticated than we previously encountered, not necessarily that they're on the are par of, say, a china military or a russian military or ours or even a saudi arabian division or anything, or even in iraqi a well-trained iraqi division. that said, so we -- i don't think we have been completely
surprised. i think we're just surprised they are very methodical in their movement. they're not overstretching themselves. they're taking town by town. after their initial push through mosul, they've stopped. largely because of the iraqi military and the kurd iish but we're seeing slow gains. >> michael, help me to connect that, these realities about their deliberation, their armaments with, also, sort of their motivation. participate of what i am cons t consistently concerned with in understanding them as an islamic group, which is a discourse that we hear regularly, is that we might be obscuring more than we're illuminating by talking about the religious aspect. so clearly a certain form of islam is part of what they're doing here. i wonder if that actually helps -- makes it harder for us to understand what is, in fact, motivating isis. >> well, it's part of the
motivation. i think you're right to focus it as part. they have been operating for years. it grew up during the sunni insurgency against the united states. so many of these people including some of the core leadership have been at this for years. and even back in 2005 when it was the islamic state, when it was the franchise in iraq, they made noises about establishing an islamic state. it sounded fantastical then, but now we wake up today, many years later, and they control territory, huge swaths of territory, on both sides of the syrian and iraqi border. they control oil resources, some of the key resources are under control. they have a self-sustaining mechanism. they are something like a proto state. there are clearly religious motivations. this is an islamic movement. a hard line islamics movement
disowned which gives you an idea how radical this group is. and they do want to found an islamic state. they hold territory. they are something is like a proto state today and, of course, they want to expand. and i think we have been surprised at how quickly they have expanded. we've known about their capacities. we are surprised how quick ly this is happening. >> with interests that are that territorial in nature, does that suggest that there is a responsibility not only the u.s. but potentially other allies to engage beyond simply these kind of immediate interests in protecting this community, the yazidi, and in protecting the kind of immediate american interests? if we're talking about an expansionist group. >> i think that -- and i said this before -- that isis ' success will be its failure in the long run. there are no states or regional players that want isis or
islamic state to be successful. and even if you look at the sunni tribal leaders and you get the feel from them they're just siding with them because they're in charge right now and it's like the biggest tribe, the c concept is that the marine corps went in with, the biggest and strongest tribe right now. they're wait iing to see how things play out. i think that when we were talking earlier that the united states is now starting to re-engage with those sunni tribal leaders that we had left and just walked away from and so there's a reluctis ancy on their part because we aren't present there. >> that's different than suggesting military intervention, to talk about engagement with sunni leaders. you're talking about diplomat is the wrong word but more of a process building than you are boots on the ground military. >> there's never -- there's no reason for american combat troops with the exception of special operations forces are or position in baghdad for
protection of the consulates or the embassies. the there's no reason for it because eiraq has a military, has -- and with the right support given to it with the advisers, with the air support, they can -- they are sustainable. >> but there is undoubtedly going to be political cross pressures about it. i hear you say strategically there's no reason for it. we have unquestionably heard that there are -- that there are some efforts -- the president -- we're going to go live to the white house where president obama is addressing the media regarding the situation in iraq. outside the city is of erbil, to prevent them from advancing on the city and to protect our american diplomats and military personnel. so far these strikes have successfully destroyed arms and equipment that isil terrorists could have used against erbil. meanwhile kurdish forces on the ground continue to defend the city and the united states and
the iraqi government have stepped up our military assistance to kurd esh forces as they wage their fight. second, our humanitarian effort continues to help the men, women, and children stranded on mt. sinjar. american forces have conducted two successful air drops delivering thousands of meals and gallons of water to these desperate men, women and children. and american aircraft are positi positioned to strike isil terrorists around the mountain to help forces in iraq break the seemi siege and rescue those trapped there. now even as we deal with these immediate situations, we will continue to pursue a broader strategy in iraq. we will protect our american citizens in iraq whether they're diplomats, civilians, or milita military. if these terrorists threaten our facilities or our personnel, we will take action to protect our people. we will continue to provide military assistance and advice to the kurdish forces as they
battle these terrorists so that the terrorists cannot establish a permanent safe haven. we will continue to work with the international community to deal with the growing humanitarian crisis in iraq. even as our attention is focused on preventing an act of genocide and helping the men and women and children on the mountain, countless iraqis have been driven or fled from their homes including many christians. now this morning i spoke with prime minister cameron of the united kingdom and the president of france. i'm pleased both leaders expressed their strong support for our actions and have agreed to join us in providing humanitarian assistance to iraqi civilians suffering so much. once again america is proud to act alongside our closest friends and allies. more broadly the united nations in iraq is working urgently to help spobd respond to the needs of those under threat. the u.n. security council has called on the international community to do everything it can to provide food, water, and
shelter. and in my calls with allies and partners around the world, i will continue to urge them to join us in had this humanitarian effort. finally, we continue to call on iraqis to come together and form the inclusive government that iraq needs right now. vice president biden has been speaking to iraqi leaders and our team in baghdad is in close touch with the iraqi government. the all iraqi communities are ultimately threatened by these barbaric terrorists and all iraqi communities need to unite to defend their country. just as we are focused on the situation in the north affecting kurds and the iraqi minorities, sunni and shia in different parts have suffered mightily at the hands of isil. once an inclusive government is in place, i'm confident it will be easier to mobilize all iraqis against isil and to mobilize greater support from our friends and allies.
ultimately only iraqis can ensure the security and stability of iraq. the united states can't do it for them, but we can and will be partners in that effort. one final thing as we go forward, we'll continue to consult with congress and coordinate close ly with our allies and partners. and as americans we will continue to show gratitude to our men and which will in uniform who are conducting our operations there. when called, they were ready as they always are. when given their mission, they perform with distinction as they always do, and when we see they will serving with such honor and compassion defending our fellow citizens and saving the lives of people they've never met, it makes us proud to be americans as we always will be. so with that, let me take a couple of questions. >> mr. president? >> yes? >> for how long a period of time do you see these air strikes continuing for? and is your goal there to contain isis or to destroy it?
>> i'm not going to give a particular timetable because, as i've said from the start, wherever and whenever u.s. personnel and facilities are threatened, it's my obligation, my responsibility as commander in chief, to make sure that they are protected. and we're not moving our embassy anytime soon. we're not moving our consulate anytime soon and that means that given the challenging security environment, we're going to maintain vigilance and ensure that our people are safe. our initial goal is to not only make sure americans are protected but also to deal with this humanitarian situation in sinjar. we feel confident that we can prevent isil from going up a mountain and slaughtering the people who are there.
but the next step, which is going to be complicated logistically, is how do we give safe passage for people down from the mountain, and where can we ultimately relocate them so that they are safe? that's the kind of owe coordination we need to do. i was very pleased to get the cooperation of both prime minister cameron and president hollande in addressing the immediate needs in terms of air drops and some of the assets and logistical support they're providing. but there's broader set of questions that our experts now are engaged in with the united nations and our allies be a partners and that is how do we potentially create a safe corridor or some other mechanism so that these peel can move. that may take some time because there are varying estimates of how many people are up there. they're in the thousands and moving they will is not simple. just to give people a sense,
though, of a timetable, the most important i'm focused on is the iraqi government getting formed and finalized. in the absence of an iraqi government, it is very hard to get a unified effort against isil. we can conduct air strikes but there's not going to be an american military solution to this problem. america and other countries support. and that can't happen effectively until you have a legitimate iraqi government. so right now we have a president. we have a speaker. what we don't yet have is a prime minister and a cabinet that is formed that can go ahead and move forward and then start reaching out to all the various
groups and factions inside of iraq. and can give confidence to populations in the sunni areas that isis is not the only game in town. it allows us to take those forces able and functional and they understand who they're report iing to and what they're fighting for and what the chain of command is and it provides a structure in which better cooperation has taken place between the kurdish region and baghdad. so we're going to be pushing hard to encourage iraqis to get their government together. until we do that, it going to be hard to get the unity of effort that allows us to not just play defense but also engage in some offense. >> the united states has fought long wars in afghanistan and iraq with uncertain outcomes. how do you assure the american
people that we're not getting dragged into another war in iraq? have you underestimated the power of isis? and, finally, you said you involved international partners and humanitarian efforts. is there any thought as far as military actions to prevent the spread of isis? >> well, a cull of things i would say. number one, i've been very clear we're not going to have u.s. combat troops in iraq again. and we are going to maintain that because we should have learned a lesson from our long and immensely costly incursion in iraq and that is that our military is so effective that we can keep a lid on problems wherever -- or if we put enough personnel and resources into it. but it can only last if the
people in these countries themselves are able to arrive at the kinds of political xr compromise that any civilized society requires. and so it would be, i think, a big mistake for us to think that we can on the cheap simply go in, it tamp everything down again, restart without some fundamental shift in attitudes among the various iraqi factions. that's why it is so important too much an iraqi government on the ground that is taking responsibility that we can help, that we can partner with, that has the capacity to get alliances in the region. and once that's in place, then i think we end up being one of many countries that can work together to deal with the broader crisis that isil poses.
what were were your other questions? did we underestimate isil? i think that there is no doubt that their advance, their movement over the last several months has been more rapid than the intelligence estimates and i think the expectations of policymakers in and outside of iraq. and part of that is, i think, not a full appreciation of the degree to which the iraqis' security forces, when they're far away from baghdad, did not have the incentive or the capacity to hold ground against an aggressive adversary. and so that's one more reason
why iraqi government formation is important because are this has to be a rebuilding and understanding of who it is that the iraqi security forceses are reporting to, what they are fighting for, and there has to be some investment by sunnis in pushing back against isil. i think we're already seeing and we'll see even further the degree to which those under isil control alienate populations because of the barbari ty in which they operate. but in order to ensure that sunni populations reject outright these kinds of incursions, they have to feel like they're invested in a broader national government. and right now they don't -- they don't feel that.
so the upshot is that what we've seen the last several months indicates the weaknesses in an iraqi government, but what we've also seen, i think, is a wake-up call for a lot of iraqis inside of baghdad recognizing how we're going to have to rethink business if we're going to hold our country together. and hopefully that change in attitude supplemented by improved security efforts in which we can assist and help, that can make a difference. yes? >> you just expressed confidence that the iraqi government can eventually prevent the safe haven. you've also just described the complications with the iraqi government and the sophistication of isil. the so is it possible that what
you've described and your ambitions there could take years not months? >> i don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks. if that's what you mean. i think this is going to take some time. the iraqi security forceses in order to mount an offensive and operate effectively in sunni areas are going to have to revamp, get resupplied, have a clear strategy. that's all going to be dependent on a government that the eiraqi people and military have confidence in. we can help in all those efforts. i think part of what we're able to do right now is provide a space for them to do the hard work that's necessary. if they do that, the with one thing that i also think has changed that many of the sunni countries in the region who have
been generally suspicious or wear qui of the iraqi government are more likely to join in in the fight against isis. and that can be extreme ly helpful. but this is going to be a long-term project. part of what we've seen is that a minority sunni population in iraq as well as a majority sunni population in syria has felt dissatisfied and detached and alienated from their respective governments and that has been a ripe territory for these terrorists terrorists and jihadists to operate. rebuilding governments in those areas and legitimacy for stable,
moderate governing in those areas is going to take time. now there are some immediate concerns that we have to worry about. we have to make sure that isil is not engagingi in the actions that could cripple a country permanently. there's key infrastructure inside of iraq that we have it to be concerned about. my team has been vigilant even before we went into mosul about jihadists gathering in syria and now iraq who might potentially launch attacks outside the region against western targets and u.s. targets. so there's a counterterrorism element that we are already preparing for and have been working diligent ly on for a log time now.
there is going to be a military element in protecting our people. but the long-term campaign of changing that environment so that the millions of sunnis who live in these areas feel connected to and well served by a national government, that's a long-term process. and that's something that the united states cannot do. only the iraqi people themselves can do. we can help. we can advise, but we can't do it for them. and the u.s. military cannot do it for them. this goes back to the earlier question about u.s. military involvement. the nature of this problem is not one that a u.s. military can solve. we can assist and our military obviously can play an extraordinarily important role in bolstering efforts of an
iraqi partner as had he make the right steps to keep their country together. but we can't do it for them. okay? last question? >> mr. president -- >> $100 billion in iraq. do you anticipate having to ask congress for additional funds to support this mission? >> currently we are operating within the budget constraints that we already have. and we'll have it to evaluate what happens over time. we already have a lot of assets in the region. we anticipate when we make our preliminary budgets that things may come up requiring us to engage. and right now at least i think we are okay. if and when we need additional dollars to make sure american personnel and american facilities are protected, then
we will certainly make that request. right now that's not our primary concern. last question? >> do you have any second thoughts about pulling all ground troops out of iraq? does it give you pause doing the same thing in afghanistan? >> you know what i just find interesting is the degree to which this issue keeps on coming up. as if this was my decision. under the previous administration we had turned over the country to a sovereign, democratically elected government. in order for us to maintain troops in iraq we needed the
invitation of the iraqi government. we ended up getting in a firefight with iraqis, that they wouldn't be hauled before e iraqi -- an iraqi judicial system. and the government of based on its political considerations, in part because iraqis were tired of a u.s. occupation, declined to provide us those assurances and on that basis we left. we had offered to leave additional troops. so when you hear people say do you regret, mr. president, not leaving more troops? that presupposes that i would have overridden this sovereign government, that we have turned the keys back over to, and said, you know what, you're democratic, you're sovereign, except if i decide that it's good for you to keep 10,000 or 15,000 or 25,000 marines in your
country, you don't have a choice. which would have kind of run contrary to the entire argument we were making about turning over the country back to iraqis. an argument not just made by me but the previous administration. so let's just be clear the reason that we did not have a force follow on force in iraq is the iraqis were -- a majority of iraqis did not want u.s. troops there. and politically they could not pass the kind of laws that would be required to protect our troops. in iraq. having said all that, if, in fact, the iraqi government behaved the way it did over the last five or six years where it failed to pass legislation that would reincorporate sunnis and give them a sense of own
0ership, if it had targeted certain sunni leaders and jailed them, if it had alien ain'ted some of the sunni tribes that we had brought back in during the so-called awakening that helped us turn the tide in 2006, if they had done all those things and we had had troops there, the country wouldn't be holding together either. the only difference would be we'd have a bunch of troops on the ground that would be vulnerable. and however many troops we had, we would have to now be reinforcing -- i'd have to be protecting them and we'd have is a much bigger job and probably we would end up having to go up again in terms of the number of ground troops to make sure those forces are not vulnerable. so that entire analysis is bogus and is wrong. but it gets frequently pedaled around here by folks who oftentimes are trying to defend previous policies they,
themselves, make. going forward with respect to afghanistan, we are leaving the follow-on force there. i think the lesson for afghanistan is not the fact that we've got a follow -on force tht would be capable of training and supporting afghan security efforts. i think the real lesson in afghanistan is that if factions in a country after a long period of civil war do not find a way to come up with a political accommodation, if they take positions and their attitude is i want 100% of what i want and the other side gets nothing, then the center doesn't hold. and the good news is that, in part thanks to the excellent work of john kerry and others, we now are seeing the two candidates in the recent
presidential elections start coming together and agreeing not only to move forward on the audit to be able to finally certify a winner in the election but also the kinds of political accommodations that will be required to keep democracy moving. so that's the real lesson i think for afghanistan coming out of iraq. if you want this thing to work, then whether it's different ethnicities, different religions, they have to complement each other. otherwise we tip back in a old patterns of violence and it doesn't matter how many u.s. troopts are there. if that happens you end up having a mess. all right? thanks a lot, guys. that was president obama speaking on the white house south lawn before departing for his vacation in martha's vineyard. i want to bring in nbc news chief pentagon correspondent jim
miklaszewski. jim, can you give me your take on the president's remarks just now? >> reporter: quite frankly, melissa, he appeared to make all kinds of news in this sort of impromptu greeting and exchange with reporters there on the south lawn just before he heads off to vacation. first of all, for the first time he talked about a timetable in which he said there is no timetable. that it's not going to be all of this u.s. military involvement is not going to be over in a matter of weeks but is going to take some time. so it's an open-ended at this point timetable. he seemed to expand the u.s. military mission there at the same time. what he was talking about not only using airpower to protect those yazidi religious minorities trapped up on that mountain, starving and dying of thirst, but he said that he's willing to use air strikes to protect them against the rebel forces that are surrounding that
mountain. but he also talked about opening a corridor, a safe corridor, from which they could leave that mountain top and seek some safe refuge somewhere else. you cannot do that, really, without some is kind of boots on the ground. now he's not saying they will be american boots on the ground but some european participation and others getting involved. so that expanded the mission there. he also talked about infrastructure, critical infrastructure, and that's referring to the mosul dam currently held by those islamic rebels which could mean that there might be some kind of military operation being planned to tray to drive those militants away from that dam. finally he talked about a counterterrorism mission for the u.s. military. no one is talking about boots on the ground but it's going to take some unraveling to figure out just what the president was
talking about. but he was talking about much more than just a few air strikes to halt the advance of those islamic militants, melissa. >> nbc news chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski pointing out all of the news that president bale just made on the south lawn of the white house. so we are going to take a quick break. but up next we are going to talk more about those remarks, the news that was made, and what it all means for the u.s. in iraq when we come back. there's a gap out there. that's keeping you from the healthcare you deserve. at humana, we believe the gap will close when healthcare gets simpler. when frustration and paperwork decrease. when grandparents get to live at home instead of in a home. so let's do it.
add vanishing deductible from nationwide insurance and get $100 off for every year of safe driving. which for you, shouldn't be a problem. just another way we put members first, because we don't have shareholders. join the nation. nationwide is on your side. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. we begin with the story in iraq and the comments from president obama just moments ago. >> i've been very clear we're not going to have u.s. combat troops in iraq again. and we are going to maintain that because we should have learned a lesson from our long and immensely costly incursion
in iraq. >> these comments followed three air strikes on isis militant targets in northern iraq. the united states military also carried out two air drops of relief supplies providing more are than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of fresh drinking water for refugees stranded on mt. sinjar. more than 40,000 yazidis remain stranded on the mountain top. in addition hundreds had of yazidi women have been kidnapped to be sold into slavery. i want to bring in nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. will the white house get the message of not committing u.s. troops on the ground given that we did seem to hear from the president this could be a much longer and potentially broader mission than was first discussed? >> reporter: i think he indicated it could be a longer mission. he really left it open ended, melissa. i think that's the headline. this could be a long-term pro skrekt. he said, quote, i don't think we're going to solve this problem in weeks. i think you're absolutely right
about that. he was laying the groundwork for the fact this is now an open- d open-ended, albeit limited military engagement that the u.s. is engaged in. but in terms of putting boots on the ground the u.s. is insist enter that is not going to happen. and of course, melissa, as we have been discussing, this president ran on a flat form of getting u.s. forces out of iraq so i think he is going to do everything within his power to make sure he sticks to that promise that he's not going to put u.s. boots back on the ground. the other headline, though, that i would point out here so fascinating is the president seemed to indicate there's not a plan yet in place to get those christian minorities off of that mountain. you heard him say that those discussions are ongoing, that right now he is reaching out to his allies. he spoke with prime minister cameron. he spoke with hollande earlier today. they are onboard with assisting in the humanitarian mission.
the president will be making a series of phone calls in the coming days to his allies to get them onboard to help with that humanitarian mission. but that's going to be the key here, melissa. how do you get those people off of the mountain? how do you deal with the immediate threat of the humanitarian crisis, getting them food and water? that's something that's already begun. the second phase of that, getting them off the mountain and to safety is still under discussion. melissa? >> nbc news chrkristen welker a the white house, thank you for your continued reporting. i want to bring in my panel at the table michael hannah sr. with the century foundation, formerly served in baghdad in 2008, earl catagnus jr. an iraq war veteran and assistant professor of history and security studies at valley forge military college, and joining me from washington, d.c., is michael lighter in, msnbc counterterrorism analyst and former direct aror of the national counterterrorism center. so hold on. i have one for each of you. michael hannah, let me start with you. this question about a pathway to safety for the yazidi does sound
like potentially a longer mission, maybe not a broader one, but it does sound potentially complicated. that wrong? is there a way we ought to be thinking about this? >> it's certainly complicated and we know that from the start. in terms of the u.s. engagement, i don't think the comments suggest any broader mission in that regard. this is a stopgap. we're trying to contain and perhaps to a degree degrade isis' capabilities. airpower alone is not going to do the trick in a matter of days and there will be heavy reliance on the ground on local forces, that's the kurdish/peshawar. a fighting group we have cooperated with for many years now. that basic template of stopgap assistance in terms of airpower and a heavy reliance on the ground, iraqi security forces or the kurdish/peshawar, that remains intact. i think we've been engaged now for months since june in terms
of sending military advisers to assess and to begin the process of init tet teelligence sharing. that's been under way for months now. i think the air strikes have focused attention on the overt use of american military power, but in terms of the longer term, i think that template is in place and we're not seeing much of an expansion of that mission. >> let me follow up quickly on this. what i heard that sounded different to me was that initially on thursday night what i heard the president saying was we have a responsibility and the capacity to stop -- to step in and stop a potential genocide. that sounds different to me than we need to make sure these communities are relocateded to safety. the stopping of a who ahorror i little different than this kind of re-establish, resettlement. do we now own this in a longer term sense is or was that always part of it? >> it was always part of it. in terms of humanitarian corridor, getting the people off
of the mountain, that's going to be a task for those on the ground, for kurdish forces. most of these displaced persons have ended up in the krg, which is in the north of iraq and that's the most likely destination for these displaced persons now. so it's a question, i think, very practical, logistical question that was always there from the start once you beat back isis, how do you get people to safety? i think that's simply the next step in this mission. >> got it. okay, so if that is in many ways a practical aspect, earl, let me come to you on another big part of what i heard the president saying just moments ago which was in many ways echoing what i heard you say as we were waiting for the president about the political realities there in iraq and the necessity that beat ing back isis in the short term may be military but defeating isis in the long term is really a question of what happens in terms of the iraq government. >> i don't think the president
could have been any more clear and i think he actually is practicing saying if al maliki gets back in power and the prime minister that we'll see a disintegration of the iraqi state as we know it now, even further than what it is. he has said it over and over and over and again throughout his talk and even through the -- his talking. you can tell that was the number one talking point. he's not signaling that to the american people. i think he's really telling the iraqi government and the iraqi people, look, you will fail if he gets back in. you have to have an inclusive government. otherwise we are not going to support this. and he even opened it up and said where if it does change, he said something about open space, meaning that we'll continue to support this open space, to allow this political, and that's what we think he's talking about longer term. internal iraqi structure -- obviously there will be a military involvement but not that we're going to be bombing constantly. so that is the number one thing
and at the end, his last question, i think, should never have been done. that is where he just went off and really got off talking point, just talked streamline. >> earl, i'm so glad you brought up that last question. that's exactly what i want to come to you on here. because the president first said last question and then he gave a second last question. and in response to that got into a set of domestic political concerns that made me wonder whether or not what we were hearing was, in fact, an assessment of a counterterrorism strategy relative to isis is or a kind of annoyance with what he saw as a potentially partisan question, and that was whether or not removing the troops from iraq, not leading a residual force, was in part -- that made the u.s. have some level of culpability here. how do you assess strategically what the president was saying as opposed to politically what he was saying there? >> well, my counterterrorism
perspective, remember, i served president bush and president obama. president obama was dealt a very, very tough hand. but there's absolutely no doubt over the past two years the u.s. init tell generat teelligence c clear in its warnings, the continued conflict in syria, an affiliate of al qaeda, and then the growth of isis we now saw spill into iraq poses a really serious regional and threat to the homeland from a counterterrorism perspective. the president in a very quick way noted that in his comments. but he is now faced with that. that is a real problem. it is a real concern. i think what his comments didn't address is how to stop that. the current mission is really quite narrowly tailored, quite minimalist. and the extent to which he didn't speak about the broader regional consequences we've seen, syria, jordan, lebanon, that is the piece which i think his critics will still continue
to say we are fighting around kirilenko and not addressing the broader context of the region. >> do you think the president was accurate in his assessment it wouldn't have made any substantial difference to have left residual forces in iraq? >> no. i don't. that is not to say i agree in part with the president, that it wasn't purely our decision. i think some of the negotiation could have been much tougher. but i do actually think that a u.s. military presence can change two things. one, it stiffens the spines of our iraqi partners. i have no doubt that u.s. trainers and guidance on the ground were isis to come in would have helped the iraqis fight. the second thing it does, and we saw this over many years in iraq, it helps minimize the like likelihood that iraqi state government elements will use those in really offensive ways if terms of persecuting the
sunnis or others. so i do think that an american military presence would have strengthened the current position in iraq. it wouldn't have done anything to diminish the threat that was coming out of syria and, again, this is now one conflict. these are two countries combined by isis and we have to look at them in the same breath. >> michael, thank you so much for your contributions to the panel this morning and from washington, d.c., thank you to my guests here in new york, michael hannah and earl catagnus jr. i will ask everyone to stay right with us. there is a dire new warning about another international crisis, this one quite different. the ebola outbreak. there are details when we come back.
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spread across with west africa has 1,700 known infections and more than 930 deaths. according to health officials the number of fatalities and overall cases is on track to surpass the total number in all outbreaks that have occurred since the disease was first discovered more than 32 years ago. nearly all cases in the current outbreak have been concentrated in getting sierra leone. patrick sawyer flew into the country from liberia and unknowingly infected several people in the capital city of legos allowing the disease to gain a foothold in africa's most populous nation. sawyer died of the disease last month after being placed in isolation at a hospital in nigeria. yesterday following an emergency meeting convened by the world health organization to discuss the crisis, w.h.o.'s assistant director general for health security explains some of the reasons why those west african
nations have been especially susceptible to the transmission of the disease. >> importantly one of the critical parts is that we are seeing community transmission go on. this is what is different than some of the other emerging infectious diseases that we have dealt with recently. but in this instance, a majority of the infections are occurring in the community, among families and so on. if we look it at the area in which this is occurring in western africa, this is an area which has had civil unrest in recent years and one of the results is that it has left the health systems relatively weakened and relatively fragile there. >> although the infections have so far been limited to the four african countries, w.h.o. officials declared the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern. >> the committee's conclusions and my decisions are a clear call for international solidarity. countries affected to date
simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own. our collective health security depends on support for containment operations in these countries. >> thursday on capitol hill during a house committee meeting to discuss the epidemic centers for disease control director tom freeland laid out l challenges facing the community in containing the virus. >> it won't be quick and it won't be easy. it requires meticulous attention to detail because if you leave behind even a single burning ember, it's like a forest fire, it flares back up. one patient not isolated, one patient not diagnosed, one health care work er not protected, one contact not traced, each of those lapses can result in another chain of transmission. >> the relief organization that has spent months on the ground
tracking and responding to the ebola outbreak issued a strong criticism of the world's reaction to the crisis. >> the international response to the disease has been a failure. if a mechanism is not found to create an acceptable paradigm for the international community to become directly involved, then the world will be effectively relegating the containment of this disease that threatens africa and other countries to three of the poorest nations in the world. >> the two americans who contract ed ebola while working with samaritans first to treat victims in liberia are said to be improving after being given an experimental serum and brought back to the united states to emery university hospital. one of the patients, dr. kent bradley, issued a statement yesterday from his hospital bed saying in part, quote, i'm growing stronger every day and i thank god for his mercy as i
wrestle with this terrible disease. i want to extend my deep and sincere thanks to all of you who have been praying for my recovery and for the people in siberia and west africa. joining me now is someone whose organization has spent years providing health care to the people of one of those west african nations, of emergency usa which runs a hospital, provides medical and surgical treatment. so nice to have you this morning. >> thank you, melissa. >> so, eric, can you tell me how your organization's hospital has been preparing to deal with the spread of ebola inside sierre leone? >> we have invested heavily in taking care of our health care staff and those who show up at our hospital. we've been operating since the civil war. we're seeing hundreds of patients every day coming in needing surgical care. we're the main referral trauma hospital for the entire nation so it's vital we are able to continue to stay open to treat folks who show up. and so we're screening people who arrive at our hospital and
if a case presents, we're fully equipped and prepared to isolate them, treat them, provide them with supportive care and, if need be, be able it to transport them to the national center taking care of ebola patients. >> it seems to me part of what we heard on capitol hill and from the w.h.o. this week is a challenge for many americans who tend to think of disease prevention or addressing it responsively as a pharmaceutical question do we have a cure, can we inoculate, are there serums? and what we heard this week was public health work on the ground. so when you are a hospital, how do you -- how do you address this? how do you do the work that is that tracking of every patient and their contact in addition to the pharmaceutical work? >> for example, we're not able to track every patient. a story after young boy, mohammed, age 12. he was climbing a mango tree, fell. and that branch that he landed
on stuck into his side, so he was transferred from over ten hours away to a hospital. he could have been exposed at several different times to ebola but we were unable to know that. we were able to screen him immediately, provide him with the surgery to save his life and move forward. from a public health standpoint as mentioned before, this is going to take a long-term capacity building commitment from the international community to help these nations deal with it this immediate outbreak but to be able to help prevent it going forward. >> you mentioned before the organization has been working in sierra leone since the civil war. how about that particular conflict make the country especially susceptible to this outbreak? >> basically it deteriorated the health care infrastructure and we've been trying to rebuild that through our one center. over 500,000 patients with high standard, free health care, and
provide education and jobs, medical staff. they were all given the option to stay home. all of our staff have recommitted to the hospital to be able to show up every day, to be able to treat hundreds of patients every day because we understand the importance as leaders and health care workers as the only surgical center that's operating seven days a week in sierra leone to treat as many people possible as they present. >> and that's pretty stunning begin that it is health care workers that are such an enormous part of the burden of this particular outbreak. in other words, so many of the illnesses are from the people who are caring those with the disease. >> we've had to ramp up our protocol, invest financially. we're spending about $10,000 a month to make sure we're taking care of our health care workers and hospital to keep it clean, sterile, and be able to make
that financial commitment. it's been a strain on our organization, but obviously it's critical and it's important. this is a long-term issue and being able to continue to do that is vital to being able to stop this outbreak and able to prevent it from happening again in the future. >> eric talbert, thank you for your organization's work and thank you for joining me this morning. >> thank you, melissa. up you next, challenge accepted. last week one of my guests put a challenge to me and this program. and so here we go. a serious look at the policy proposals within paul ryan's plan for poverty. ♪ ♪ fill their bowl with the meaty tastes they're looking for, with friskies grillers. tender meaty pieces and crunchy bites. in delicious chicken, beef, turkey, and garden veggie flavors.
congressman paul ryan is running for president. there hasn't been an official announcement but the evidence is everywhere, the cover of his new book, presidential look iing th and his book tour launches in a couple of weeks and it feels pretty campaign like. congressman ryan will hit 20 stops in eight states, many by bus. one stop in chicago will include
an on stage interview with congressman ryan's former running mate, mitt romney, and ryan will also do events at not one but two presidential libraries, those of george w. bush and ronald reagan. now the book doesn't come out until august 19. we have plenty of reading material in the meantime. 72 pages outlining ryan's ideas for ebbeding poverty in america. if you watched our show last sunday you may remember that we toughed briefly on ryan's plan. but we mostly focused on the politics. can it become law? what is paul ryan trying to do vis-a-vis his personal ambitions, is it a conservative document? is npr host urged us to look into his actual policy proposals. >> today's crazy idea becomes tomorrow's policy, like electric cars or alternative fuels. l it behooves people disappointed with the state of
the politics today when people do offer ideas to at least consider those ideas seriously. >> i do think it's a bit of a false distinction to claim we can discuss just the ideas without talking about the political context in which those ideas arise, but that said, it is still a very worthy challenge and one that nerd land is excited to take on. we are not so much talking about whether oregon part of the plan can become law. we're not talking about whether the costs of such a plan are political areally feasible. let's just say they are. do we want these policies? are they really the long-term solutions to poverty? and there's a lot to unpack. joining our table asosociate professor at drexler university and for hunger-free communities. bob woodson, founder and president of the center for neighborhood enterprise. scott, the walter b. rice it fellow at the manhattan institute. and melissa, who is vice president of the poverty program
at the center are for american progress. thank you all for being here. i want to go through some aspects of it and i want to start with the opportunity grant at the core of ryan's proposal. it is an idea that is going to bring together poverty programs like second shun eight, like the temporary aid to needy families, like what we call food stamps although it's now s.n.a.p. is that a good way to move forward? taking the opportunity grants, allowing states to individually make decisions about how to spend the money. >> well -- >> okay. we have one no. tell me why and i'll take a yes. >> a couple reasons this is problematic. 80% of the funds in representative ryan's plans come from programs such is as s.n.a.p. , our bedrock nutrition program and housing. these are basic human needs. he's proposing a plan in which
states can apply to use this money however they'd like in terms of case management, in terms of more flexibility. but because 80% of the dollars come from basic needs like food and housing, it's likely that funds will be diverted for meeting those basic needs. another issue is this isn't really getting at a lot of the root causes of poverty. we need good jobs. we need better wages. we need policies that enable families to balance their care giving responsibilities with working responsibilities. and ryan's plan is silent on that. >> okay. so i like what you're saying about the root causes because there are some other things that mr. ryan suggests. i want to get to that in a second. as you talk about the eye deep of section 8 and of s.n.a.p., food and housing benefits. let me ask, because i heard you say, yes, it is a good idea. this claim that those moneys might be used for other purposes is not just an ideological claim. there's evidence when it comes as block grants sometimes governors make a decision and state legislators make a decision to back fill state budgets on things that are not
direct spending on poverty, housing and food, for example. >> well, i think a little bit that have happens, but i think it's been overstated if you look at priorities, the left of center group in d.c., they show that actually the amount spent on services, assistance to families on a per person basis increased by over 75% and there are a couple reasons for that. the main one being over time welfare reform in the 1990s was successful in moving people off of the cash assistance rolls without increasing poverty, by the way. and so a fixed block grant, while it may seem that it's going to be less valuable over time in real terms to the extent that you have fewer and fewer people receiving assistance, it actually ends up being more on a per person basis and that's what we saw with welfare reform the last 20 years. so i think if paul ryan's proposal succeeds, you'll see the sale sorts of dynamics and some people won't get food
stamps or they won't get housing. that's the point of ryan's proposal is that not everybody needs the same things and that there will be flexibility built in so people get the assistance they do need. >> you brought us to a really key point and that is about the reform that turned -- i go back to your point, melissa, about what is the key problem. so i want to listen for a moment because paul ryan was talking to our own chuck todd about what the problem is the let's get his identification of it and i'll come to this question. of. >> the problem is, chuck, our safety net isn't working the way it ought to be. we have all these government programs, all these rules and regulations that are stove pipes of fragmented programs that don't make a lot of sense. and the whole argument here is if the status quo would be wo working, i'd be supporting it. it's not. we have the highest poverty rate in a generation yet we're spending unprecedented dollars on these programs. >> so he's saying the problem is that we have these programs.
the programs don't work. but part of what i'm wondering, if we go back to your point about good jobs, we've seen a decrease and then a return of poverty. that does seem to have pour to do with the general economy than it does with programs. >> we're missing a larger point and that is you cannot generalize about poor people. everybody is poor for a different reason. i think there are four categories, you have people who are just broke. a job is left. and a person needs temporary help. category two are people who have disincentives to work because of the grants pay more. and they withdraw. >> i disagree. >> may i finish? >> sure. there's a third category 0 are physically disabled. but the fourth category, i think, are people who are poor because of the chances that they take, the choices that they make. they're engaging in self-destructive behavior. the problem is people on the
left talk about poor people as if they're all category one and people on the right as if they're all category four. they miss each other. >> you said some poor people are poor because they're just broken but then there are these other things. there are many wealthy people and middle class people who are in category four, who make bad decisions. there are some who are in category three who have disabilities. there are some who are in category two who have a variety of disinnocent isives to work, for example, they have wealthy parents but they're not poor. it seems to me the only reason that poor people are ever poor is because they don't have enough money. do you understand what i'm saying? all the rest of those things may be correlated with it. >> it's just not true. all of us probably have family members in category four you couldn't give money to. >> there are wealthy people also in that category and the thing that makes them wealthy versus poor is that some of them have money -- >> and they make bad choices for themselves and so, therefore,
just giving money to people who are living destructive lifestyles injures them with the helping hand. that's why the organization that i represent, we focus exclusively on dealing with the people in category four and, therefore, we support innovative grassroots leaders who are in those communities, who are our moral mentors and character coaches who help restore people from drugs, prostitution, alcoholism so that they can become restored so that then they're able to take a job and also once they had money they'll be able to use it responsibly. >> let me jump in be on this. i think when you start talking about people fitting into categories, it sounds almost violent in the way that you're referring to people as if they're almost nonhuman. i would love to turn it back into a sense of making sure we make sure everyone is a deserving human being, someone who is deserving of dignity and respect. i have to bring it back to this cop september of punishing
people who make bad choices. when people are in a situation and so poor they have to decide between paying for food and paying for rent, they will sometimes not pay their rent and pay for food to feed their children and then be at risk for homelessness and even potentially go homeless. be a then they have to make other difficult choices. it has major public impact. >> you brought us it to kids and also both of you to decision making the i'm still not quite sure whether or not the federal government versus state governments do a better job of getting that on the ground piece. so i want to come back to all of that. and when we come back what if every poor person receiving benefits had his or her own case manage they're is part of paul ryan's plan and we'll talk about that when we kol back. energy. but the energy bp produces up here energy. creates something else as well: jobs all over america. engineering and innovation jobs. advanced safety systems & technology. shipping and manufacturing. across the united states, bp supports more than a quarter million jobs.
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unlike federal programs case management can provide a holistic kind of aid, one that takes a fuller view of each person's wants and needs. joining us from ft. worth, texas, is heather reynolds, president and ceo of catholic charities ft. worth who testified to the house budget committee about case management's role in fating poverty. nice to have you with us this morning, heather. >> good morning, melissa. >> when you talked about congressman ryan's board here, what was your vision of case management? >> case management to us is very different than case work. case management is something that's holistic so it's aimed at getting a family out of poverty but all about working with them to identify the opportunities they have, the strengths they have, and had he them build assets, assets like their physical health but internal as well like hope and motivation and things hike that. >> so let me ask a question that for me is hard to put it
together with that. lots of things i like about that, the idea of folks on the ground in community but i also can look and see that poverty hits children most harshly in this country, and i wonder how we can begin to even imagine children have to be responsible for getting themselves out of poverty? does that make sense? when you've seen a large proportion of the children who are poor, how does case management and setting goals and benchmarks help a 10-year-old 0 is hungry? >> right, well, you have to work with the comprehensive family. first, you want to assess the family to find out what's going on with the whole familiy. then you want to make sure you serve that short, medium and long-term goals. your short-term goals are going to make sure basic needs are met, food, clothing, shelter, a roof over their heads. they been develop assets and famili families. higher paying jobs, he heducatif that's what's needed because quite often the cycle of
poverty, poor parents have poor children and more often than not those children go on to be poor parents. we want to show children something different and give them the opportunity to experience a different childhood. >> heather, hold on for us just a second. when you hear that, it sounds lovely and it is part of the american charitable tradition within the context of dealing with poverty. it misses certain kinds of things like to say we'll get you a higher paying job and education when we see education paying fewer returns for communities and higher paying jobs are evaporating. >> right. of the exactly. we need work opportunities, good jobs that people who are in these situations go into. i'm not opposed at all to case management where someone really needs it but in this specific plan if it were enacted is intensive amounts of case management for populations that may or may not need lots of help. right now four and five americans will experience
chronic insecurity during their working years years. they would pen fit from case management but to say everybody has to have case management means we're cutting into the guarantees of food that our safety net promises people who fall on hard times. >> is that the tradeoff, food versus life coach? >> absolutely. i do think there's a really strong rule for case management and for helping to if a sill is tate families to move forward because when children are experiencing deep poverty, that can be homelessness or hunger, that's toxic stress, major consequences for brain development, could gnitive, soc development. and we have the research evidence to show that. what happens when you start developing programs where you penalize families for not getting into the workforce because the jobs are not supportive, families who are poor, children are more sick, they have a hard time able to stay in the workforce and also to take care of their children. so we need to, again, have work support. child care, family leave, paid sick leave, all of those kinds
of things as well and the infrastructure to help those families succeed. >> heather, i want to again say thank you for joining us from ft. worth, texas, and thank you for going and testifying before mr. ryan's committee. we will be back -- >> thank you so much, melissa. >> thank you, heather. we'll be back and will have much more on taking paul ryan seriously. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen,
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child poverty declined actually for the first time since johnson declared war on poverty in 1964. the serious declines in child poverty. >> but let me ask, is that simply a correlation and opportunity based on the fact we were in an economic boom or do you believe that was causal as a result of -- >> totally fair question. so the '90s boom was a big part of it. what happened in the 2001 recession and afterwards poverty stayed low and, in fact, the 2001 recession, the great recession, poverty rose less among children than it did in the early 1990s and in the early 1980s recession. so actually the safety net did step in. we expanded food stamps, unemployment, medicaid and a number of other programs. >> so let me go back to your four-part poverty question on this. so if you have seen dips, valleys and mountains in child poverty, for example, that are that responsive either to policy or to eitc, doesn't that
undermine the notion that it is about decision making? because it's hard to believe that people's decision making or the community decision making shifts that swiftly. >> many of the people in category four are immune to up-and-down turns in the economy because they're not prepared to participate. when you live in a community like the black community where you have a 9/11 every six months with 3,000 kids being shot by other kids and people are afraid to use the streets and even leave their homes, you cannot -- they are withdrawing from the economy, so you must address these crises in these communities which we do. you must -- a part of the anti-poverty agenda has to be solutions. and paul ryan has visited and saw examples of people solving those problems, associated with this decline. and then you can have opportunity apply.
>> my favorite part of the paul ryan plan, just hands down no question, is the expansion of earned income tax credit. i think it explains what happens in the post reform. but my favorite part is the criminal justice reform part. the notion that criminal justice reform is associated with communities. again, that's still different than decision making. even the violence in communities is simply too responsive to short-term realities to seem to me as if it could be about people making better or worse decisions. >> when you have walmart coming in to washington, d.c. and they screen 500 people for jobs and 60% can't pass the drug test, that is not a problem of a lack of opportunity for working. >> do we have any idea how many people working on wall street would pass the drug test? >> it doesn't matter, we're -- it may be. in other words --
>> it does matter, if it would be 60% who fail, and yet they're wealthy, it simply can't be that one -- look, i'm not suggesting that rich people are more or less likely. simply if you only have data on the behavioral activities of the poor and you infer causation, you simply -- you just can't know. if those same behaviors exist among whites -- >> insert some actual concepts of health. when you think about families that are suffering from drug adirection and exposure to violence, it causes major damage for families, and they need a lot of assistance. they need access to behavioral health services. they need to be incentivized in order to be able to show up to behavioral health services and be able to take care of their children. right now, we do need a more comprehensive approach. there are aspects of paul ryan's poverty plan that address those kinds of things. we can't penalize families for
those kinds of struggles. it's not like they're making those decisions because they have the ultimate freedom to go off and, you know, get a well-paying job and pay for their families. >> thank you so much for being with us. we're going to be right back. [ male announcer ] this is the age of knowing what you're made of. why let erectile dysfunction get in your way? talk to your doctor about viagra. ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain. it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. side effects include headache, flushing, upset stomach, and abnormal vision. to avoid long term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. this is the age of taking action. viagra. talk to your doctor. if your doctor decides viagra is right for you, you can fill your prescription at your pharmacy. or, check out viagra home delivery, a convenient place to fill your prescription online and have it shipped at no additional cost straight to your door. viagra home delivery.
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there is so much more to get to on this issue of how to deal with poverty in america but we have simply run out of time today. of course this is an issue we will come back to on this program. thanks for watching. tomorrow on this program, we are going to take a very serious look at the comments by a member of the u.s. house of representatives who said there is, quote, a war on whites. you are going to want to join us for that conversation. but right now, it's time for a preview of "weekends with alex witt." >> i actually just put on my seat belt for that conversation. we are going to talk about how
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we can help, we can advise, but we can't do it for them, and the u.s. military cannot do it for them. >> president obama on the goal in iraq, so what is it, and can the u.s. wipe out the militant group taking other parts that country? complete military and political analysis next. the scope of the humanitarian crisis. the u.s. takes more action to help those trapped on a mountain in iraq. and who are the militants behind isis and what would an islamic state run by them look like? round two. the next hurricane is already approaching hawaii.
hey there, everyone, just about noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." the president speaking just a short time ago about the u.s. air strikes in iraq. >> we're not moving our embassy any time soon. we're not leaving our consulate any time soon. that means that given the challenging security environment, we're going to maintain vigilance and ensure that our people are safe. >> the president's comments come just a day after the u.s. began targeted air strikes in iraq against hard-line militants near the city of erbil. early this morning, u.s. military carried out a second air drop of food and water for thousands of refugees trapped. >> we feel confident that we can prevent isil from going up a mountain and